World Bulletin / News Desk
Bosnia and Herzegovina marked the "White Ribbons Day" Sunday in memory of thousands of innocent non-Serb civilians, who were killed in the western town of Prijedor and its surrounding areas in the 90s.
Thousands of people in Prijedor, Banja Luka, Brcko, Tuzla, Sarajevo and other cities and towns wore white ribbons on their arms to mark the 23rd anniversary of the massacre.
“Anti Dayton Group” activists in the capital of Sarajevo handed out a total of 3,176 white ribbons to people, which signified the number of victims who died during the tragedy.
“This day is to remind us all of the innocent lives that were lost in Prijedor and all other cities in Bosnia," activist Zvjezdana Hatak said.
The group’s founder Nihad Alickovic recalled that among the 3,176 civilians killed in Prijedor were 102 children and 258 women; 30,000 others suffered in concentration camps at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje located in Prijedor surroundings.
"It is important to mark this day to save the truth from the oblivion," Alickovic said.
The day was also marked in the capital of Republika Srpska entity, where around 20 activists not only wore white armbands but also circled themselves around a long white sheet and stood in silence in the central Krajina Square.
"By this initiative, we want to mark the day when the ethno-fascism was formalized and created the Republika Srpska [RS] in Prijedor, the day when the authorities of RS ordered all non-Serbs to hoist the white sheets on their houses and to wear white ribbons. We all know what happened after that. The genocide happened in Prijedor, concentration camps, mass extermination, persecution," activist Srdan Susnica said.
Most of the killings happened in the period between May and August 1992.
In May 31, 1992, the Serb administration in Prijedor had issued an order to the non-Serb population to wear white stripes on their arms when they go outside their house.
A total of 38 people were convicted for crimes committed in Prijedor and aforementioned camps. Four people are still awaiting a final judgment in the case.
The Sarajevo-based “AntiDayton Group” combats divisions in the country and is committed to restore the prewar Civil Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of the Dayton Accords.
The 1995 Dayton Accords ended the war in Bosnia and outlined a peace framework.
In November, the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the agreement that formed Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single state made up of two parts – the Bosniak-Croat federation and the Republika Srpska, with Sarajevo remaining as the undivided capital city.